Name: Madison Stephanie Grey
Date of Birth: October 30th, 1967
Hometown: Plymouth, Devon, England
Height: 5ft 5in
The 17-year-old protagonist and titular character, Madison ‘Maddie’ Stephanie Grey basically summarises all parts of my personality, but with a bit more emphasis on my feminine side.
Born October 30th, 1967, Maddie is the only child of Jeffery (b.1942) and Demelza (b.1945) Grey (née Anderson), who, at the time, were officers in the Royal Navy based at HMNB Devonport in Plymouth. Jeffery is of both an English and Military descent, with his ancestors having been involved in nearly every major British conflict as far back as the Napoleonic Wars. Demelza on the other hand is of half-German birth, her father being part of the British Army of the Rhine in occupied West Germany following World War II, who married a local German girl before returning to Britain in the early 1950’s. As such, both her and Maddie are fluent in German, but converse in English when together.
While Jeffery held the rank of Captain and saw front-line service in the Colonial Wars of Oman and Aden, Demelza was a Lieutenant-Commander in the Naval Audit Office. The pair met during a Naval Dinner in 1962 and married in 1964. In 1973, both her parents retired from the Navy and took up jobs in civilian life based on their experiences in the armed forces and so that they could spend more time with their daughter; Demelza becoming an accountant, and Jeffery a Marine Biologist. Both of these jobs, plus what they earned in their Naval service, made them a very wealthy family, but one that believed their wealth was something to be used to make them more rounded and cultured human beings rather than being spent on fatuous playthings, a philosophy that they taught their daughter Maddie.
Maddie was raised in the city of Plymouth, and lived in a large house in the affluent suburb of Woolwell a few miles to the north. As she grew up she made several friends in her primary school and later secondary school, including a girl named Tasmin. Tasmin’s mother owned a clothes shop they lived above in the city, and while Maddie was over for a Slumber Party the pair spent the evening trying on the latest clothes which left an impact on Maddie’s sense of dress, something she takes great pride in. It was around this time as well that Maddie developed a taste for Lingerie and other more expensive (though, by modern day standards, ostensibly sexualized) undergarments, not through any sexual desire, but more a love of finer clothes with a retro feel. Maddie also had a desire to join the Royal Navy like her parents, but due to her chronic asthma she was unable to meet the entry requirements.
In 1980, at the age of 13, Maddie suffered a tragic blow when her grandmother passed away. The shock of her loss, coupled with the various mental and physical changes of puberty, made her very confrontational and deeply upset, largely due to a misplaced sense of pride that she didn’t feel a need to discuss her problems with those around her, making her battles her own. The combined emotional trauma took her to the brink of a nervous breakdown, but she was able to garner the strength to swallow her pride, admit she was wrong, and eventually seek psychiatric help to restore balance in her mind. However, her easy-to-anger nature during this period had gained her a reputation of being mentally unstable, leaving her friendless at school.
In early 1985, at the age of 17, Jeffery took up a job position on the remote Scottish island of Hue, and the family moved there in July of the same year. Though adjusting was difficult for Maddie at first, she was quick to meet the local residents, primarily those of her own age group; Ebony, Siobhan, Matt and Andy.
As you can imagine, Maddie was the first character I developed, and she stemmed basically from my desire to make a female version of myself. As a bisexual boy, I do find myself being very much in touch with my X chromosome, but I don’t feel that makes me any less of a man, if anything, it helps me enjoy the finer things in life and dictates my sense of taste, while at the same time makes me rather useful, like doing housework, something most boys I know would have an apoplexy over!
Now, one consideration I had before developing Maddie was that she may be perceived as being ‘too’ nice, so much so that her gushing goodness is almost sickening, like she was a long-lost Care Bear! Not to blow my own trumpet, but Maddie’s characteristics and the way she interacts with people is essentially the same as what I do; being very polite, very loyal, helping those in need, wanting to do the best I can, but also seeing the humorous and ironic side of things.
On top of her personality traits, I also decided to embellish her with some tastes that, as a boy, I can’t actively exploit, namely her sense of dress. I really do love women’s clothes, but not enough that I’d actively wear them! I am fully aware of the fact that men’s clothes and women’s clothes are mostly gender specific for a reason, and the only times I have crossdressed in the past are either at fancy dress parties or for charity (but, to be honest, it was kinda interesting wearing girl’s clothes, having a taste of what the other side wears!). Anyway, as mentioned, I love women’s clothes, and I love designing them too. Making Maddie gave me a chance to really exploit my love of creating outfits for her that looked classy and stylish, but not so affluent or over-the-top that they became impractical; like you see at some of these fashion shows where someone will come swanning down the runway wearing a dress with a model railway sown into the hem!
As for Maddie’s backstory, this is where it comes down to a mixture of my own life, and other people’s lives. In order to make Maddie more understandable than just a pretty face and a heart of gold, I wanted to develop the reasons why she’s that way rather than just being at the convenience of the story. The background of Maddie losing her Grandma is very much my own. The period around 2010 was a very dark chapter of my life, and I cannot remember what my world was like before then, but according to those around me, the 8 to 10 months I went through this tumultuous state I truly became dark, bitter, easy to anger and just as easy to reduce to tears. My Mum did indeed tell me at one point I was on course for a Nervous Breakdown, and I do sometimes wonder if I did actually have one.
It was an absolute car crash of all the worst things happening at once; losing my Grandma made me desperately upset, at the same time I was having trouble dealing with my sexuality as I had an attraction to another boy which I wanted him to know but didn’t have the courage to do (especially at my school where same-sex relationships were deemed as almost scandalous), both of which made me very distracted and as such I absolutely bombed my GCSE exams. All these combined made me more upset and even more angry, which led my to snapping and verbally abusing those around me until eventually I had no friends whatsoever.
Either way, once I had slowly pulled my life out of the terminal dip it was in, I found it was a real watershed for me, and since then I’ve devoted my life to being as kind and as friendly as possible to those around me, and to assist others when they themselves are having problems similar to mine (only if they want the assistance of course). As someone who was taught the true meaning of despair first-hand, I know I made a lot of terrible mistakes, one’s I’ll regret forever, but it makes my days worthwhile to help those around me and not let them make the same mistake.
In addition to my own, Maddie’s backstory of being from a Naval family is based off my friend’s and relatives. I’m not from a Naval background, in fact both my parents are Opticians, but growing up I was surrounded by boys and girls whose parents were active in the armed forces, be they Army, Navy or Air Force, thus it was interesting to see how confident and outgoing, but at the same time how moralistic and openhearted they were too. Therefore, I chose this to give Maddie a bit more development as to why she’s so willing to help, and as to why she’s open to any real suggestion or way of thinking. 🙂